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Traditional Uses

The mango tree is considered sacred among different regions of India and is associated with the rituals of the aboriginal people of India. Various parts of the tree such as leaves, flower, twigs and wood are used in rituals, charms etc. for getting divine favours.

Religious act:

Among the Hindus in most parts of India, but more especially in the Darbhanga district (Bihar), to plant a mango tree is considered a religious act, productive of spiritual benefit. The popular belief is that the rain water falling from the leaves of a mango tree is converted into honey, which is received by the spirits of the ancestors of the individual who planted the tree, as well as by himself when, after death, he abides in Swarga or heaven", says a writer in a Calcutta daily on June 27,1907.

Festoon made of the green leaves:

A festoon made of the green leaves of the mango tree commonly used all over India on auspicious occasions. The festoons are hung on the door-ways and the roof during various occasions. The leaves and wood of the mango tree are used at every step on auspicious occasions such as birth and marriages. The marriage of the Hindus and aboriginals is invariably decorated with a torana of the mango leaves (Gupta, 1965).

Worship and different rituals:

Mango leaves are essential among the Lodhas in the worship of Sitala, the goddess of small pox (Bhowmick, 1963). The mango twigs are important part of the tree, used by the Hindus in their different rituals. Dried twigs of the mango tree are used in the sacrificial fire (Homa) and in other religious rituals. The ladle made of mango wood is used to pour ghee during Homa. A branch of the mango tree is often planted in the centre of the wedding booth in Maharashtra, besides decorating the mandap with a festoon made of mango leaves. The branches of the mango tree (Amrapallav) are used in Bengal in the ghata (a water-filled earthen jug with sacred articles) which is the physical representation of the gods and goddesses worshipped (Gupta, 1965).

Agricultural ceremony:

The Balahis of Nimar district perform certain ceremonies before the sowing season begins in June. During this time the house and threshing floor is decorated with mango leaves festoons as a belief to bring good luck and rich harvest to house and grain. During the agricultural ceremony of the Balahis, the ropes of the bullocks are worshipped and mango leaves are used on and around the ropes of the working bullocks with a belief that leaves shall convey their own blessing power on the ropes so that no harm may be fall the working bullocks nor the future crop (Fuchs, 1949).

Symbolically invoke:

Usually a pitcher of water is placed on white paddy; a branch of mango is placed in the pitcher and a coconut adorned with sandal paste, vermilion and flowers is placed on that branch. This is called the full pitcher Purnakumbha which is symbolically invoked as gods and goddesses for the successful end to any mission undertaken. The flowers of Mango are dedicated to the moon to whom offered on the second day of Magh (Feb-March) and also to Madan, the god of love (Gupta, 1971).

Marriage ceremony:

In aboriginal India, the bride and the bridegroom have to circumvent a tree before the marriage ceremony can be performed. For this purpose the bride smears the Mahua (Bassia latifolia) tree with vermilion, walks round it and then embraces it. The bridegroom performs a similar ceremony with the mango tree (Gupta, 1971). During the marriage rituals, a symbolic marriage between mango and mahua (Bassia latifolia) precedes actual marriage. The bride worships the two trees. Mango represents the agni (the female character) and mahua represent soma (the male character). The groom performs his symbolic marriage between two plants during his upnayana sanskar (the scared thread ceremony) solemnized a few years earlier. The practice of marrying trees is observed in other parts of country also (Jha et al., 1996).

The tribes of Bengal used mango plant and fruit in different social customs and rituals. Bride is married to mango tree before the actual marriage with a groom. It is a custom to chew tender mango leaf before going to marriage by a bride groom. This occasion is called ‘amla khawa’. It is stated in ‘Karali’ folk tale of Jangal Mahal that a mango is symbol of masculinity. This culture is taken from the aboriginal society and it is prevailed even in old alluvial zone of Gangetic West Bengal (Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2015).

The mock-marriage of the mango trees is widespread in Eastern India, especially in the Gangetic plains. There is a proverb current in Bihar which says, Maur na mile tah ama ke palwe sahi, which means that if the (proper) wedding head­ dress cannot be had, then, mango leaves will answer (Budhawar, 2002).

Homa and Funeral pyres:

The wood of the tree being sacred, it is included in the funeral pyres as well as in the sacred ceremony of Homa Gupta, 1971).

The mango wood is regarded holy and sacred and funeral pyres among the Hindus are generally made of it. The part played by the mango tree in the 1iberationof the departed ancestors seems to be the reason behind it. It is the custom among the Nairs of Kerala and other communities to use only the mango wood for cremation. Every Nair household, therefore, grows a few mango trees for this purpose. The death of a Nair is heralded by the felling of the mango tree. Not only the people of South India use mango for cremation, but also the Hindus of Bangladesh cremate their dead by cutting a mango tree. No wood other than mango is believed to be sacred for the cremation (Gupta, 1965).

Symbol of fertility:

The mango tree is considered as a symbol of fertility among the aboriginals of India. During the Ganagaur festival month of March/April, ten days after Holi, Gauri, the consort of Lord Siva, is worshipped by women who want to be blessed with children. On the seventh day of this festival "a woman takes the lota (pear-shaped small brass pot) on her head and all go in procession to the outskirts of the village where they stop under a mango tree. The lota is placed under the tree. A man climbs up and plucks some leaves and fruits which, at that time of the year, are still very small. These are put into the lota. The women now begin to dance around the tree, singing and clapping their hands to the rhythm of the melody (Fuchs, 1949).

Utsarga(gift):

Mango is possibly the only tree offered as utsarga (gift) to a Brahmin, during sraddha in memory of departed soul. The use of mango during religious rites is confined only to the uncrossed ‘desi’ or ‘biju’ varieties and not to the grafted ‘kalami’ types. Mango wood in Mithila is preferred as funeral firewood. After the dead body is completely consumed by the flames, five mango twigs are offered to the departed soul as a token of last respect by all persons present in cremation ground. Mango leaves are utilized to pour libations in pujas. Unripe mango fruits offered to Brahmins along with yava (Hordeum vulgare) and an earthen pot full of water on the occasion of Mesh sankranti in chaitra. Ripe fruits are offered to forefathers in Ardra Parvan during Asadha(Jha et al., 1996).

Auspicious occasions:

In the famous Jagannath, temple the mango flower buds with ‘Gaintha’ (a special raw rice cake prepared by ladies of every household) called as ‘Baula Gaintha’ is offered to the Trinity-Lords, while worshiping them on auspicious day (Bakul Amawashya). It is believed that whoever witnessed special worship with this mango bud adoration /invocation of deities at Jagannath temple, he deserve to proceed to the heaven. In temples, festivals and religious observances; the branches of mango tree are utilized to generate holiness, purity and sanctity. During the concluding ceremony of ‘Asta Prahari’ (a nonstop rhythmic mass chanting of Lord Krishna for 8 Prahars i.e. 32 hours), an earthen pot with curd water and turmeric paste and a bunch of mango leaves kept inside. A person (for whom the ‘Asta Prahari’ has reserved), has to carry the pot on his head. Holding the pot on the head by left hand, he takes one bunch of mango leaf in right hand and dips in to the curd water. Then he waves the bunch of leaves towards the public by throwing the scared droplets of curd water of Lord over them. Small branches and leaves of mango tree are used in worship on the days of ‘Akshaya Tritiya’ and ‘Prathama Ashtami’ (Mohapatra, 2013).

Other traditional uses/knowledge related to mango:

  1. Leaves are used in Gaudi Padwa (New Marathi year) (Khandare, 2016).
  2. 10 g of bruised Garlic (Allium sativum L.) put together with 1 lit of water has been found to be a competent managing capacity resisting powdery mildew (Oidium mangiferae Berthet) disease of mango (Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2015).
  3. Periodically cleans with fish washings in the trunk of mango trees pushed back trunk borer infestation. Fish washings may allure predators and parasites and hence thrusts back borers (Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2015).
  4. Pitcher irrigation in mango orchard saved up to 75% of valuable water without endangering the crop yield in the rain fed agriculture (Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2015).
  5. Farmers-folk set up turmeric based intercropping in mango agro-ecosystem on variety Himsagar in Murshidabad. This design measured insurance against off year production. The secondary crop yield may be increased by use of high yielding genotypes, high-density crop geometry and providing balanced nutrition (Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2015).
  6. Milk spray is put on in the canopy for 2-3 times just before and after the panicle emergence. Milk casein may magnetize some predators and parasites (Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2015).
  7. Dhak (a folk musical instrument of West Bengal) is prepared from the trunk of mango.
  8. Practically all the tribes in India observe a Mango fruit festival, before which it is taboo to eat the fruit (Gupta, 1971).
  9. Mentioned in different folk songs and folk drama:
    1. Changu song: Changu song is related to changu dance which is displayed along with Paik dance, a folk dance based on intensive body language. Changu song is sung by transformed fishermen in agriculture with folk instruments. Fresh mango and mango-fish are mentioned in a Changu song.
    2. Vawaiya Song: Vawaiya song is sang by Rajbanshi tribe of Cooch Beher, Jalpaiguri, Siliguri sub division of Darjeeling, Uttar Dinajpur of West Bengal; Rangpur, Dinajpur of Bangladesh and Goal para and Dhubri of Assam. In a folk song of Vawaiya, reference of sweet mango is there which means mango is available in the month of Jeth (May-June) and new shower of monsoon comes in the month of asar (June-July).
    3. Gambhira: Gambhira is a song-based and ritual (related to Lord ‘Shiva’) folk drama performed in Malda especially in the month of chitra (March-April). There is a Gambhira song related to the antiquity of mango where Sri Lanka is considered as the centre of origin.
  10. On the occasion of Shigmo (Goa’s biggest religious Hindu festival), a trunk of the mango tree, which is decorated with green mango leaves, is made to stand erect in front of the grove in a pit and then grass is burnt around it to celebrate the festival of Holi (Kerkar, 2009).

Traditional fruit uses:

Mango Pachadi: This is a special traditional dish of Tamil Nadu prepared during Tamil New Year. It consists of mixture of various tastes such as sweet, salty, bitter, hot and astringent along with the tangy sourness of green mangoes. For preparation of mango pachadi, peeled green mangoes are sliced into thin flat pieces. The sliced mangoes are added to jaggery water. Chili, turmeric, and mustard are used for seasoning. Cooking is done for 15 minutes. The consistency of final dish depends on the quantity of ingredients (Sarkar et al., 2015).

Mango Peel Chutney: Mango peel chutney is a traditional food found in south Karnataka. Ripened or unripened mango peels are used for the preparation of chutney. Method of preparation includes seasoning of spices such as clove, mustard, chilli, fenugreek seed, black pepper, curry leaves and turmeric powder. Diced mango peels are added to seasoned spices and cooked for 10 minutes. The cooked peels are taken for grinding, after grinding salt is added and served with roti or chapatti (Sarkar et al., 2015).

Uppu Manga:Uppu manga is traditional food found in Kerala. Wash the raw mangoes, drain and set aside. Add salt to the water and boil. Strain, cool and set aside the brine. Place the mangoes in a clean dry jar. Add the brine and close the jar and store in a shelf. The mangoes will be ready for use after months, when they are soft (Mathew, 2014).

Ada Manga (Stuffed Mango Pickle): Ada manga is traditional food found in Kerala. Wash and drain the mangoes. Allow them to dry and then slice both sides without separating the slices from the nut. Heat the vinegar, cool and set aside. Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the ginger and garlic. Remove when it turns golden brown and cool slightly. Add the cooled vinegar, red chilli, fenugreek, turmeric, mustard and asafoetida powders. Allow to cool completely and then fill the gap between the mango slices and the nut with this masala. Store in airtight jars (Mathew, 2014).

Mathira Manga Achar (Sweet Mango Pickle): Mathria manga achar is traditional food found in Kerala. Add sugars to mango pieces and cook to achieve one string consistency. Add in all the spices. Allow to cool and then store in airtight jars (Mathew, 2014).

Meenum Mangayum (Fish & Raw Mango Curry): Meenum mangayum is traditional food found in Kerala. Wash the fish with some salt and lemon juice. Grind the coconut, coriander, cumin seeds and garlic. Take a pan (preferably earthen), add one soring curry leaves, fish, a few raw mango pieces, salt, chilli and turmeric powders, sliced onions (reserve 1 tsp for tempering), ginger and 1 cup water. Cook until the fish is done. Add the ground coconut and boil for 2 minutes. Heat the coconut oil and add the mustard seeds and sliced onions, curry leaves and the broken red chilli. Fry until brown. Pour the seasoning over the curry and serve hot with plain rice (Mathew, 2014).

Mangachor: Mangachor is traditional food found in Kerala. Cook the rice with 2 cups of water. When cooked, cool the rice on a plate. Make chutney with the raw mango, green chillies, grated coconut, asafoetida, salt and turmeric powder. Mix the chutney with the cooked rice. Heat oil in frying pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the curry leaves, black gram dal and broken red chillies. When the seasoning is ready, add the chutney rice and stir gently. Turn the rice out delicately onto a platter and serve with curd and onion raita (Mathew, 2014).

Manga Chammanthi (Raw Mango Chutney): Manga chammanthi is traditional food found in Kerala. Peel and slice the mango. Crush the slices. Grind the mangoes with the red chillies and salt. Crush the button onions and curry leaves and add to the mango. Add the coconut oil and blend well together. Serve with white rice/ rice porridge or boiled tapioca (Mathew, 2014).

Manga Chertha Thenga Chammanthi (Raw Mango & Coconut Chutney): Manga chertha thenga chammanthi is traditional food found in Kerala. Grind the mango slices with the red chillies and salt. Add the grated coconut and continue grinding. Crush the button onions and curry leaves and add to the mango. Blend well. Serve with white rice/ rice porridge or boiled tapioca (Mathew, 2014).

Chemmenum Mangayum Curry (Prawn & Raw Mango Curry): Chemmenum mangayum is traditional food found in Kerala. Remove the shell, head, tail and intestine of the prawns and wash with some salt and lemon juice. Grind the coconut with cumin seeds, turmeric and chilli powder. Heat oil in pan (preferably earthen). When hot, add mustard seeds. When the mustard crackles, sauté the curry leaves onions garlic and green chillies. Add the prawn, minced raw mango, a cup of water and salt and cook until the prawns are done. Add the ground coconut to the curry and boil until the oil seperates. Serve hot with plain rice (Mathew, 2014).

Chuna: This is a traditional food of Bengal. Small green mangoes are cut and dried in the sun in the month of March-April to make the product ‘phali’ which is preserved and used for the problem of stomach and also used for making sour curry and pickles. The drying tray is made of slightly elevated wooden or bamboo strips and fitted to wooden frames (Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2015).

Amchur: This is a powder of dried mango slices and stored into dry bottles. Under-ripe green mango is peeled, de-stoned, sliced and dipped in 2% salt solution before sun drying. By crushing the dried mango, a powdery, substance is obtained. This product is added to various preparations to provide sourness (Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2015).

Mango leather: Dry the ripe mango pulp on plate under sun, in the form of strata made by their pouring in several layers; each stratum lay down and dried before another stratum is stood. The pulp can also be blanched, sweetened (added 5% sugar) and stretched thin on the mat and dried. Tikiapari, Ganga Prasad and commercial variety Gopal Bhog are the best popular variety for lether making in Bengal (Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2015).

Aam-tel (Mango-oil): This is a traditional food of Bengal. Green mango is cut lengthwise into four pieces, stone is removed and the pieces are dipped into brine solution. After draining of water, turmeric is added and dried in the sun for 4 days. Fried and grind spices are added to it and put into a glass jar. The jar is exposed to sun till it is considered to be ready. Ingredients are like this: green mango – 1 kg, mustard oil – 500 g, five spices – 55 g, turmeric powder and dry chilli (Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2015).

S. No. Name of disease Plant parts used Other ingredients used Mode of use Source
1. Dysentery Bark (25 g) Cumin (10 g) Swallowing of paste mixture in marble size once daily for 3 days Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2015
2. Eyelid-sty Latex of young leaves Nil Apply in the eyelid directly
3. Teeth pain and scurvy Bark Nil Apply bark paste in the base of teeth.
4. Stomach ache Bark Nil Paste
5. Jaundice Bark Oyster lime Kneading of bark along with lime within the hand 2-3 times a day for 5-7 days.
6. Pregnancy Bark (1)Mimosa pudica bark, (2) Acacia arabica bark, (3) diospyros peregrine bark, (4) aegle marmelos bark, (5) Nata (Lata karanja), (6) bankarabi, (7) ginger juice, (8) molasses, (9) mustard oil, (10) rice/wheat flour. Taking clear solution of boiled bark of (1) to (6), mixing (7) to (10) and use twice daily for 5-7 days.
7. Sun stroke Green mango Sugar and water Cooking in hot ashes and mixing with sugar and water
Last modified: July 12 2018 05:21:27.